Different Cultural Practices in Healthcare

Subject: Culture
Pages: 4
Words: 981
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: College


Different cultural practices and believes practiced by different groups in the society tend to have either negative or positive impact on health of those people. In reviewing how cultural diversity affects health of the people in that particular group we will look at native americans and how their cultural practices have negative impact on health. There are certain health problems that greatly affect the native american population more than the other population groups. Some of the major health problems that affect the native americans include cancer, diabetes and heart diseases. (Sallie 2007)

Main body

These health problems have claimed lives of many native amaerricans and the reason behind this is directed to the cultural believes they hold concerning health issues like heart diseases and diabetes. Large numbers of native american population have continued to die because of belief that these diseases were genetic and for that reason they do not seek medical attention. Belief that these diseases are genetic has continued to affect this group hence claiming lives of very young people. The other major contributor to this is the kind of lifestyle they have, most of them do not have access to health care services due to ignorance and also lack of sufficient income. These factors have contributed to contiued health problems in the group. (Sallie 2007)

The case study involving Mr. Wolf draws back to the significance or the importance of cultural competence of the medical practitioners towards their patients. Culture will refer to the ways of a person’s conduct which will involve his or her language, thought life, way of conversing, actions, ethnicity etc where as competence will refer to the ability to function productively as an individual or an organization. Therefore, cultural competence can be defined as the art of engaging with people from different cultures effectively, in this case a patient from a different culture from that of the health provider. (John 2008)

Engaging in cultural competence enhances a health provider to appreciate, converse with, and be able to associate with people from all cultures without being bias. As a medic professional it will be of great importance to enhance a high cultural competence level when giving health care to the patients which involves a lot of patient-centered engagement that will influence care being given to individuals of any ethnic setting or those that are described by gender sexual approach and disability for one to be competent. (AMS foundation 2008).

The cultural competence can be applied in various professions e.g. business, medical, sports etc. Cultural competence will include four things; being aware of your own culture ,your attitude towards the differences that exist between your culture and that of others(Mr. Wolf),having a know how of a different culture(that of Mr. Wolf) apart from yours and last but not least cross cultural skills.(Lee 2009)

Being aware of my attitudes as a health provider in connection with the cultural differences between me and Mr. Wolf i.e. western medicine and the cultural medicine in this particular case study will help me a lot in understanding, communicating and effectively interacting with Mr. Wolf regardless of the conflict of cultures. A poor treatment due to lack of understanding the culture of Mr. Wolf may lead to serious consequences in the medical fraternity. To interact with Mr. Wolf one will require the right attitudes, awareness of culture of Mr. Wolf, knowledge of the culture and the skill of Mr. Wolf Addressing cultural competence is very important. As a health provider I will be required to operate in a cross-cultural context. Proper preparation will be necessary to effectively avoid, detect, and heal many health problems. (parlakian 2009)

Being conscious of a cultural barrier between Mr. Wolf and the health provider is a vital tool to solving this particular problem. Putting this in mind will be of great importance since it will make it easier for both the health provider and the patient to achieve the best and the most appropriate care. Regardless of all our likeness basic differences within individuals come up from nationality, ethnicity, and culture as well as from family background and individual experiences. These differences will go into shaping our health ideas, practices, and actions; in this case the patient and the health provider and also the influence and the expectations that patient and provider have of each other. (Borg 2008)


As a medical practitioner one ought to be aware of the small differences that exist in cultural proficiency between me and Mr. Wolf. If I lack wisdom I will not be able to recognize the similarities and the differences between these two cultures. Practitioners practice self protection or denial which leads to an attitude that these differences are not important or that our usual humanity confirms our differences.

Fear of the unknown because it is challenging and perhaps intimidating to get to understand something that is new, that does not fit into ones world view and also feeling of pressure due to time constraint which would lead to feeling being rushed and unable to look in depth at an individual patients needs will hinder effective communication between me and Mr. Wolf. Examining bias in my communication with Mr. Wolf through self examination of bias and its effects will be important. (Martin 2009)

Works cited

AMS Foundation, cultural competency in medicine, 2009. Web.

Borg Muller, The Office of Minority Health, 2009. Web.

Day Parlakian, cultural competency: what it is and why it matters. 2008. Web.

John Miller, cultural competence, 2009. Web.

Isaac Lee, cultural competence in health: a guide for policy partnership and participation, 2008. Web.

Martin Wagner, cultural competence, 2009. Web.

Sallie Sharp, Symposium addresses disparities in Native American health care. Web.